World’s remotest learner

Friday 8 January 2021 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in National, Outer Islands

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World’s remotest learner
Caroline Marsters with her Certificate of Achievement and her Southampton University bear (mascot) gifted by the university for completing a monthlong online course titled “Exploring Our Ocean”. SUPPLIED/21010701

Living on a tiny remote island of Palmerston has not stopped Caroline Marsters from dreaming big.

The 16-year-old senior student at Palmerston Lucky School wants to become a marine biologist and work in fisheries management.

As her first steps to making that dream a reality, Caroline recently completed an e-learning course through the Marine Sciences Department at Southampton University, England.

The month-long course was gifted to Caroline for her birthday and was completed outside of school hours.

“My school principal Sherrin Hibbard gifted the course to me as a birthday present and my dad Bill Tuakana Marsters and uncle Arthur Neale (Palmerston Executive Officer) encouraged and supported me,” Caroline said.

“I was excited and nervous at the start but kept going until I finished the course. We had three sessions in a week, they sent me articles and videos explaining the subjects that were part of the course. I spent about five hours on each session.”

Principal Hibbard took care of the internet cost.

Caroline said: “Internet is not that good here on Palmerston, it’s slow and we sometimes lose connection but we have to be patient.”

Titled “Exploring Our Ocean”, the course dovetailed well with the environmental education taught at Palmerston Lucky School.

Caroline studied four topics – “The History of Ocean Exploration”, “Ocean currents”, “One Ocean, Many Habitats” and “Our Impacts on the Ocean”.

“This was my first e-learning experience and it was great. Apart from learning about social networking, I learnt a lot about ocean management, about deep sea. It’s interesting that only 5 per cent of earth’s ocean have been explored, I’m really interested to know what the remaining 95 per cent holds.

“I want to save the oceans; I want to explore the unknown and learn more about what lies below the surface.”

School principal Hibbard said: “Caroline especially enjoyed networking with other students from all around the world and learning from their experiences.”

“With her Certificate of Achievement and her Southampton University bear gifted by the university for being their remotest learner there is no doubt Caroline is well on her way to making her dream come true.

“Though a tiny school of just 11 students on a remote atoll far away from anywhere, we constantly tell our students that they can be anything they want - so dream big.” Caroline has enrolled in Te Kura programme, a New Zealand government funded distance education provider, to complete her National Certificates of Educational Achievement. “I want to complete NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 so I can be eligible to enter university for further studies in the future.”